Spooky Tree on Amami’s Kakeroma-jima Island
Spooky Tree -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 34 mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Spooky Tree

Finally getting around to writing one of the posts I mentioned in Overwhelmed: an Embarrassment of Riches, here's the “spooky tree” that our guide, Hirozou-san, showed us tucked away in a far corner of the small and sparsely populated Kakeroma-jima Island of southern Japan's Amami Island Group in the East China Sea. We visited Amami over the New-Year holiday.

Cluster of Roots Dangling Down -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/60 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Cluster of Roots Dangling Down

The whole tree seems to be made up of nothing but twisty tangled clumps of aerial roots that drop down to establish new trunks. As time progresses, they get sturdier and become trunks, branching out to start the process again, thus expanding the tree's coverage.

It creates a decidedly haunted-story feeling, both similar and different from the spooky Amami mangroves we would see the next day.

Creepy -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/180 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Creepy
Self-Extending Support -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Self-Extending Support

Maybe this “expanding coverage” is where Japanese gardeners got the idea for adding supports to tree branches in order to allow them to grow to unnatural lengths, as we've seen many times in passing on this blog (recently here and here).

At some point it becomes difficult to tell whether to consider something a dangling root, or a trunk in its own right...

Trunk/Root/Stem of Some Sort -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Trunk/Root/Stem of Some Sort

The sides of the trunks had so many roots glommed onto them that they appeared more like the plumbing on a space-shuttle engine than a tree.

Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos

Someone had strung a net up among the roots/trunks (at some point it's hard to tell the difference) to make a hammock, which we took turns bouncing in...

Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

There was also a long rope for swinging on...

Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

It was right on the ocean, so the view was nice...

View from the Tree -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 23 mm — 1/125 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
View from the Tree

We were there late in the afternoon on a fairly blustery, cloudy day, but before we left we got some of the last rays of the sun peeking through, which made for nice color (that sadly probably doesn't come through unless you're viewing with a color-managed browser on a nice display)...

Spooky, In Warm Tones -- Kakeromajima (Amami), Kagoshima, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 18 mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Spooky, In Warm Tones

Two minutes later, I snapped the sunset picture seen here.

More Amami-related posts are listed in my blog's Amami-Islands Category.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Fascinating tree form. Hope Peter or someone can identify what type of tree it is and if it would grow anywhere. I’d love to try one here in Ohio, but heaven only knows
how long it would take to become that interesting. Or if, with judicious pruning, one could achieve some room-type structures. Could be fun.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on March 24th, 2008 at 12:42am JST (9 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Isn’t it wonderful? I’d guess it’s a kind of fig – I saw something similar in Yakushima. That was curtain fig, Ficus microcarpa, the aerial roots of which were straddling a drive or small road, much as Jeffrey’s one appears to do. For some reason I never photographed it, so it’s great to see these excellent photographs. Sorry, but I think in Ohio you’d need a very large and fairly warm greenhouse to grow it – definitely subtropical! The common Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) does a bit the same sort of thing, in time, with long aerial roots. Weird plants…

— comment by Peter on March 24th, 2008 at 1:53am JST (9 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks, Peter. I was actually wondering if it was some kind of Mangrove. Wish I could say I had a big greenhouse but I haven’t even a small one . Guess I’ll have to settle for a Weeping Willow for an enclosure-type tree.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on March 24th, 2008 at 10:01pm JST (9 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Magnifique, as the French would say.

— comment by Anne on September 9th, 2012 at 4:56am JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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